Bilawal to skip JIT hearing on fake accounts

ISLAMABADThe Pakistan People Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will not appear before the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) joint investigation team (JIT) probing into Rs35 billion money laundering scam, a senior PPP leader on Tuesday revealed to The Express Tribune.He said the JIT shared a questionnaire with Bilawal. However, it has been decided that instead of appearing before the JIT, he will give a written response to the questions through his lawyer. However, the PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur will appear before the JIT.Sources said the JIT has asked Bilawal to explain the link between the alleged fake accounts and Zardari Group of Companies.  Renowned lawyer Farooq H Naek is assisting Bilawal to respond to the JIT queries.The PPP leader said the party leaders believe that the JIT is summoning Bilawal after the PPP chairman harshly criticised the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government and the establishment.He also alleged that incumbent FIA Director General Bashir Memon holds a personal grudge against the PPP leadership and he is leaking selective information related to JIT probe to damage its reputation.Earlier, the FIA in its report had claimed that investigation of bank accounts’ inter-linkages proved that personal account of former president Zardari was used to deposit Rs18.8 million in the account of Zardari Group. The amount was not used to increase the number of shares of a depositor.“This shows that he is directly linked with the account of Zardari Group as no complaint of misuse of his name/account has ever been made to concerned authorities,” read the report, submitted on August 6.The FIA disclosed that account of Zardari Group was used to deposit Rs30 million into suspicious bank accounts and later an amount of Rs85 million was transferred from account of Zardari Group to a suspected fake account titled ‘Lucky International’ under the signature of Faryal Talpur.“However, no complaint whatsoever was made by any of the directors regarding the misuse of their accounts to authorities which shows that these transactions were made with their connivance,” it said.The report said it clearly showed that Zardari Group’s account had made substantial transactions from suspicious accounts of companies like Lucky International, Umair Associates, A-One International and Tariq Associates.Moreover, the same amount was used to shift money to accounts of Ocean Enterprises, Dream Traders, Lucky International, Owais Muzaffar Tapi, Syed Abbas, Zakir Ansari and Saeed Fareed. The FIA claims that the Zardari Group clearly establishes close linkage with suspicious bank accounts of bogus companies.

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